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Old 12-18-03, 01:33 PM
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Not diagnosed yet - What do you think?

Sorry about the length of the following - ignore it if you want. I am going to be seeing a Dr on Monday for a referral to an expert on adult ADD. The last guy I saw (not an expert on ADD) went off on a tangent asking about symptoms of depression, and I never got to tell him most of what is diaried below. Consequently I decided to write it down - as much to get my thoughts in order as to present to the next Dr, so that at least they have all the info.
I was examined as a child for "hyperactivity", in the early 70's, but to the best of my mother's recollection, there was no diagnosis one way or the other.
What do you think, do I have ADD?

Medical History
• IBS – Bothered by Irritable Bowel Syndrome since I was about 20 years old. Diagnosed as IBS a few years later
by eliminating any other cause. Caused by stress and made worse by coffee. I discovered by accident that the anti-
depressant Remeron helps greatly - probably due to it’s anti-anxiety properties.
• History of seasonal depression – Have taken Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft at various times for seasonal (winter)
depression, which is usually mild. I would start taking them in December and stop in the spring. I found these drugs
to be helpful, although they also tend to take away some of my "drive", and they give me "other" side-effects. For
the last two years I have been taking Remeron for this seasonal depression and I find it works well.
• Insomnia – Bothered by difficulty falling asleep, and in waking multiple times during the night, for as long as I
can remember. Insomnia got worse as I got older. Remeron, taken before bed works very well in helping me fall
asleep and stay asleep.

Family History
• Brother recently diagnosed as ADHD at age 37.
• Uncle (Mother’s brother) and cousin both have dyslexia.

Learning Disabilities
• Disgraphia – Diagnosed late in elementary school, my symptoms are: very messy handwriting; trouble organizing
thoughts on paper; displays better understanding verbally than written answers would indicate – I used to get extra
time on exams for this reason, if I requested it. This problem still exists. I also suspect that I might be a bit dyslexic,
but this was never diagnosed.
• Spelling – Lifelong problems with spelling. Oddly, it is often simple, common words that I miss-spell.

School
From Grade 3 to 8 was in a program for gifted children – at that time called "advancement" as the students skipped
the 4th grade. I did not skip the grade as I had problems with my spelling, writing and handwriting, and I was also
the youngest in the class, being born in December.
I never met expectations where school was concerned. I had one of the higher IQ's in the class ( I was tested a bunch
of times. My highest score was 157 and the lowest 135, with an average of 150) but my performance was near the
bottom. I was OK at math and science but my English and written work was poor. I always was a daydreamer, and
this was a huge problem in school. Anything could distract me from my work - in fact in grade 4 the teacher
completely emptied my desk (which was right beside hers) to eliminate as many distractions as possible!
I always had a hard time doing homework. It takes me hours to do work that would take others a half hour to do.
Reading in particular I find difficult. Unless I am very interested in the material I am reading, I have a hard time
absorbing the material, often having to re-read pages – almost as if I hadn't read it in the first place. I am also very
easily distracted when studying or when trying to do work that requires a lot of thought. I also tend to procrastinate
when it comes to homework – I often did things at the last minute, and they were often late. I also hated having my
work looked at by anyone because my spelling was so bad - I was very embarrassed by it, especially since it was
often simple words that I miss-spelled. My mother, ever the teacher, made sure to point out every error. It’s only
now, with the advent of the spell-checker that I can stand to have anyone read my work.
I got through high school somehow, with mediocre marks. I still had trouble with studying, but if the class interested
me - like math or science - then I could pay attention in class and coupled with whatever studying I could do, I
managed to pass.
In university I also had a difficult time, and did not live up to my potential. Studying was more essential in university
and I used to think that I had a hard time because “I never learned to study in high school”. My major was physics
( I never was one to take easy courses ) which suits my logical nature, and as in high school, I managed to pass, but
with a very mediocre 69% average.
A few years after getting my first degree I went back to school to do an M.B.A. I was worried about making the
standard for admission, as my marks from my previous degree were not very good, but I made up for it with a
GMAT score in the 94th percentile! I again studied a technical subject - Finance - but I did better this time (a “B”
average) possibly because the amount of group work in the program meant that I did not have to do the organization
on my own projects.

Comments made by teachers on report cards showing possible ADD behavior:
Grade 1
"Bursts out answers"; "not working up to his ability in written assignments"; "needs to take care in written
assignments so as not to make careless errors".

Grade 2
"Written assignments are improving gradually in neatness and accuracy"

Grade 3
"Expresses ideas well orally – prefers to talk rather than put his ideas down in writing"; "listening needs to improve
– is often daydreaming when instructions are given"; "is distracted easily"; "careless errors"; "requires constant
supervision"; "finds it hard to settle down and complete his days work"; "all written work must improve"; "he is not
achieving at a suitable level for this time of year. Oral participation is good, but all written work is poorly done.
Concentration is poor, as are work habits. Greg seems determined to proceed in his own way, and does not learn
from his mistakes. He is very young and immature in some ways". "Academically, Greg has shown a steady
improvement this term. He has not improved his work habits and finds it very difficult to concentrate on subjects
which require him to work alone for a longer period of time"; "rarely completes his assignment"

Grade 4
"Work habits still erratic, and he requires a good deal of supervision. I suspect a strong streak of laziness which he
tries to cover up with charm"; "requires many reminders and constant supervision to complete his daily work"; "he
is not working at the level of which he is capable"; "still has trouble concentrating on his own work"; "has worked
somewhat better since his desk has been emptied"; "still easily distracted"; "has difficulty in completing his
assignments on time – is able to make good contributions when he thinks about what he will say"; "some careless
errors because he didn't read carefully"; "more care in putting down questions will help to eliminate errors"; "would
like to see more careful and complete preparation of assignments – makes good oral contributions"; "

Grade 5
"Gregory starts an assignment with enthusiasm but he lacks the self initiative and the sense of responsibility to see
it through to completion. I find it very difficult to help Gregory with his weaknesses in research for he never brings
his material to class. His oral responses and test results show that he is learning and the improvement he has shown
during these tests convinces me he could do much better in his daily work is he wanted to put forth the effort";
"Gregory continues to be a polite, likeable pupil, but still has not challenged himself to work up to his potential";
"expresses himself well but cannot always quote a reference because of careless recording of the necessary facts";
"seldom has his information on hand when given class time"; "Organizational ability – very careless in daily work";
"his mind wanders when left to work on his own"; "I find that by directing many questions towards Greg this help
to keep him from "drifting"."; "careless at copying work from the blackboard – no finishing touches"; "I hope that
Gregory will soon be mature enough to want to up to his ability to fuller use and not just be satisfied with the
minimum success he has experienced this year."

Grade 6
"Greg has very poor work habits. As a result he is working far below the level of his ability. If he puts his mind to
it, he is capable of writing some very creative work."; "His approach is disorganized. Notes are continually lost and
found again making any kind of teacher guidance very difficult"; "Has ability, lacks self-discipline"; "Unless the
teacher is constantly at his side, his output is almost non-existent."; "With more effort he should achieve a grade
in the final term closer to his ability level"; "With continued supervision and guidance Greg's notebook has
improved. However, he lacks the initiative to organize on his own"; "Record keeping and physical organization are
still Greg's most important problems"; "If he is to enjoy a better year socially next year, it is necessary for him to
evaluate his behaviour in the past. By understanding those things which irritate his classmates, he may be able to
avoid them next year"

Grade 7
"The worst notebook I have ever seen!"; "The quality of Greg's work, of his efforts, and of his use of time has
seriously deteriorated this term. Daily work was frequently incomplete. Most assignments that were to be handed
in were hastily prepared at the last minute"; "Greg appears to have returned to his old work habits – ineffective use
of time, poor records, failure to complete and to submit assignments for evaluation"; "effort and production have
been very erratic this term. If constant prodding, threats and extensions had not been given, Greg would have failed
to complete many more assignments. Written form remains untidy and carelessly developed"

Grade 8
"Greg's unique problems with written work and general organization are causing great concern. He is making a
genuine effort to improve and is attaining a degree of legibility. Unless these difficulties are ameliorated they may
inhibit the progress his is otherwise well equipped to make. We can't believe that his is satisfied with the chaotic
state of his records, yet there seems to be no reason why, when he decides that it is necessary, he shouldn't do
something in that regard."

Work
My career has not progressed as I would have liked - I do not think that I am living up to my potential, and this
bothers me greatly. Poor “follow through” is one of my biggest problems - I have a hard time finishing projects. I
often take on more than I can do, so projects are often late or last minute. I am also easily distracted and find it hard
to get back into a task if I was interrupted. I regularly work late or after hours in order to get stuff done - when there
are no people or phone calls to take my mind off what I am working on. I am also prone to being late for work. Most
employers have not minded this, as I am hard working and I more than make up for it by staying late, but this
lateness has cost me my job on at least one occasion. My organizational skills are also weak - my messy desk and
difficulty finding things have hurt me at work. I am also prone to careless errors, which I must be very careful of
at work, especially when working with financial numbers - I have gotten into the habit of carefully proof-reading
my work - I had a boss who could instantly find the one mistake in a sea of numbers and he “trained” me to be very
careful in this regard.

Home
My poor “follow through” follows me home. I habitually start projects or chores and fail to finish them when I get
distracted or interested in something else. I rarely watch the same television program through to the end - habitually
changing the channels to find something better. Disorganization is evident almost everywhere and I am bad at losing
or misplacing things at home - if I didn’t hang my keys up in the same place when I come home, I would never be
able to find them! I also have social problems which are related to impulsivity - I am prone to intruding on others
conversations, I tend to be a bit of a “tattle-tale”, and I have a difficult time keeping secrets. I try very hard to
suppress these tendencies as I find them very offensive when I see them in other people, but occasionally things “slip
out”causing embarrassment.

Drug Use
Did not use drugs or alcohol in high school. Drank alcohol in University, but did not use drugs. Have tried magic
mushrooms maybe 10 times while in my early 20's and would take a "toke" if marijuana was passed to me, but I did
not smoke on any regular basis and did not buy grass till after I finished my MBA at age 28. Since that time I have
smoked marijuana on an occasional to daily basis depending on my mood. I find that I tend to smoke more when
I am depressed and when my self-esteem is very low. I have stopped smoking a number of times during the last 10
years. Usually I do not have problems stopping, but I have had difficulty once or twice – when I tried to quit when
I was "down". I sought treatment once. I have never used cocaine, amphetamines, LSD, or other drugs.
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Old 12-18-03, 03:04 PM
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Sounds like a history very comatible with ADD and with specific learning disabilities. Your history in your younger years is not inlike my own daughters, and not unlike my own. I'd say you faired pretty well for yourself, based on your extremely high intelligence. I know personally how frustrating it is to be bright enough to do amazing things, but have lower results than even I expect of myself. Your variance between your IQ scores versus your performance are the first indication of a learning disability. The ADD could account for the distractibility and the disorganization. It is doubtful you have dyslexia, as you were probably tested for it, and your writing would have probably indicated it. Yet you can be highly disorganized without having dyslexia. They are all related apparently through genetics anyways. The handwriting problem is very common in children with ADD, but it is a motor development issue. My daughter has it too. She will probably rely more and more on typing as she gets older.

I believe in my layman opinion, that you would have been diagnosed with ADD and would have been tested for other learning disabilities. I think you would have been given a stimulant medication or Straterra if you were a child in elem school today displayingthese symptoms. I think your disorganization would have improved with medication and possibly with occupational therapy from school specialists for LD. I also think you would have remained in gifted programs if you had been diagnosed young enough and been given treatment. It seems your case looks like a classic case, and it is surprising you were not identified properly. Many children, howeve,r myself included, fell through the cracks and did not get diagnosed, despite seeing professionals. Today, diagnosis of ADD is much more likely displaying those symptoms.

My suggestion is that you are doing the right thing, you wrote everything down in a superb manner. You are seeing a specialist. You are bieing persistent. I believe you will end up getting a trial of medication - stimulant or Straterra. I suggest you try as many as it takes to find the one that works.

Good luck in your search for a proper diagnosis and treatment!!!

Remember, no matter what the diagnosis, you have not changed a bit!! You are still you!

Jonathan
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Old 12-18-03, 06:43 PM
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Welcome to the bunch, Gregster... my advice would be as follows: you have done a lot of homework on this it seems to me. I would suggest that you know in the back of your mind what you already believe to be true. Listen to that voice, and don't take the wrong road because of a minor detail being off or someone you don't trust pushing you that way...
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Old 12-18-03, 09:17 PM
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Welcome, Gregster.
If I were you, I'd print your piece out and get it to your doctor before your next appointment. It deserves a thorough reading, and if the doc reads it on his/her own time, you can save your "face time" for discussing the implications of what you have documented.

My "favorite" teacher comment: "I suspect a strong streak of laziness which he
tries to cover up with charm." That is really "special," lol! A guy can't win with an assessment like that.
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Old 12-19-03, 02:59 PM
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Yah, The "streak of laziness" comment is one of my favorites - good old Miss Sutton. Had her for two years. I think there was a reason it's "Miss" Sutton! I can't really blame her, ADD without hyperactivity was not really a diagnosis in the early '70's - and I wasn't hyperactive - lots of people over the years must have thought of me as Lazy and unmotivated, I guess.
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Old 12-19-03, 03:15 PM
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Welcome Gregster,
I to have the inattentative type and was not diagnosed till recently. Most of my teacher thought I was unmotivated a very messy. Anyway welcome to the group. Good luck with your diagnosis. It sounds like it is very well documented
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Old 12-20-03, 07:23 PM
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Welcome to ADD Forums Good luck with your DX and hopefully you will find somebody who "gets" adult AD/HD.
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Old 12-22-03, 07:36 AM
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Hi and welcome.

Have a look into nonverbal learning disabilities (NLD or NVLD), they can manifest very similar to ADD but manifest more strongly in a large discrepancy between verbal (high) and performance (low) IQ, and more often have dysgraphia and co-ordination problems associated with them.

A certain degree of executive dysfunction (losing things, forgetting things, trouble with getting organised etc.), is also linked to NLD.
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Old 12-23-03, 01:24 PM
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Thanks for the input "Sc@tterBr@ain_UK" - I looked into NVLD (It's good to be aware of what else my problem might be).
I don't think it's a fit for me - NVLD people are good at spelling appearently ;-)
Inattention is my primary problem, I think. Most other symptoms I can tolerate or adapt too. It's the inattention that I want to have treated!
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Old 12-24-03, 12:53 AM
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Yep.

I think you are right about yourself.

find a doctor that sees things similarly to you and work from there.

The history you have should be very valuable to a doctor who understands the role of history in ADHD diagnosis.
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Old 04-16-04, 06:29 PM
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I thought it would be fun to add this to the bottom of my original post.
I've now been diagnosed, officially, I am a member of the club, I have ADHD!
Interestingly the diagnosis was Hyperactive-Inattentive Combined type - I figured that I was primarily inattentive, since I never really was a never-stop-moving kind of kid. But I am going to take the Dr's diagnosis a face value - he's a recognized expert in ADHD with gobs of experience with both adults and children. Upon reflection I think maybe I've been underestimating the extent of my problems with impulse control - my "hyperactivity" manifesting itself more as anxiety and impulsivity than an inability to sit still - if that makes any sense.
Got my first script for ritalin today too - pretty light dose at first, so I barely feel it, but I think it will be what helps me the most - I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will.
Regards,
Greg
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Old 04-25-04, 09:05 PM
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How is the Ritalin working for you?
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Old 04-25-04, 11:20 PM
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Yeah, this one is a beut: "I suspect a strong streak of laziness which he tries to cover up with charm."

I've been getting many, many similar ones as of late. This is what finally pushed me to a dx about 3 weeks ago.

What DO THESE PEOPLE think is going on? I'd prefer 3 different people yelling at me rather than doing my work??

ugh.
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Old 04-26-04, 12:28 AM
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Greg,

I am so happy for you, to finally have your diagnosis. I bet it feels like a weight off the shoulders, at least it did for me!

Good luck and let me know how your medications work out.

Right now I am trying ritalin.

-Britawn
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Old 04-27-04, 08:24 AM
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The Ritalin is working very well, I am happy to say. I still have to figure out the best dosage and the best time of day to take the pills, but it's only been two weeks.
The hope that I now have that I will be able to get my life and career back on track is a great feeling!
Regards,
Greg
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